We Are Family

We are facing a difficult and scary time right now. Our lives have been flipped upside down, emotions are heightened and in more cases than not, fear has taken the front seat.

While hard times surround us, we urge everyone to take a deeper look and to remember why we are here in the first place.

We have been through a journey with each and every one of our residents, patients, and families. Why did you seek us originally? Maybe Mom could no longer do the stairs in her house. Or maybe, Grandma was having difficulty remembering to take her daily medications and needed a nurse to help. Maybe Dad couldn’t bathe himself anymore. Whatever the factor was, you needed a place that was there for you, that would care for Mom, Dad, or Grandma like you care for them. You needed us, and you found us, and from there, another form of “family” began.

We treat your loved one as if they are our family, not only caring for them, but growing with them. We celebrate the important, happy days with them like holidays and anniversaries, and we comfort them in sadness and grief when it’s needed most. We know them by name, we know their children, and we know their children’s children. We worry about them and protect them as if they are our family and we do everything we can to fight for them, not just in the face of a pandemic, but always.

Our communities and teams are made up of clinicians and professionals in a variety of specialties. We have so many passionate people in such important roles. From doctors and nurses, to life enrichment coordinators and admissions, we all have unique roles and different responsibilities, but we all share one thing in common and that is that to us, your family has become our family.

We are a wonderful place filled with dedicated, hardworking people who followed a passion – a passion to serve. We give your loved ones medication, and exercise, and help them go to sleep at night. We dance with them and create beautiful pieces of artwork with them. We work to help your loved one walk again or to button a shirt again, and we smile with tears in our eyes as they do it. We work with families on new treatments and diagnoses, and we hold their hands when news might not be so good. We lend our families a shoulder when it’s needed, and we reassure them that we are here for love and support.

And when a pandemic unexpectedly hits – we rise, and we fight, and we protect. We monitor your loves ones day in and day out, constantly assessing and evaluating while still providing a lifestyle of positivity among the darkness. Our staff adapts quickly, following CDC and state guidelines, while putting important regulations and additional PPE in place. We listen to each other and support each other as a team. We react and we push forward. We work hard together, and lean on each other, and we make sure to thank each other. We do our best to keep families connected through FaceTime, window visits, and letters, and we find comfort in local businesses who donate and help. We protect your loves ones, we fight for your loved ones and soon, we will overcome with your loved ones. We are resilient and we are family.

 

This article was inspired by a Facebook post written by a Wisconsin nursing manager named Rachel encouraging those to spread the word.


How to Cope with Stress, When Times are Stressful

At a time like this, it is normal for stress levels to be heightened and for you to feel “off” more often than you feel “normal.” Your feelings are completely validated and while they are okay to have, for most of us, it doesn’t feel very good.

The Ohio Department of Health has put forth some valuable information and resources for identifying your stress, managing it, and for helping manage the stress of a loved one you’re caring for.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Anger or short temper.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

If you are taking care of an older adult:

  • Make sure your loved one’s nutrition intake is monitored.
  • Provide consistent predictable patterns and schedules.
  • Stay engaged with communication.
  • Personal care is important (clean clothes, bathing).
  • Attempt to lower emotions to reduce stress.
  • Understand that this change impacts a wide range of human experience that includes physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being.

 Resources for additional assistance:

  • Throughout Ohio, you can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free, and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier. People of all ages can use Crisis Text Line.
  • The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director, Lori Criss, offers information on how to manage Coronavirus related stress. Click the link below to watch.
  • For those of you interested in meditation, the below link offers some of the most recommended guided meditations.
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a way, 7 days a week, year-round.
    • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs”to 66746, Spanish-speakers, text “Hablanos” to 66746.

By identifying your own stress and the stress of those you care for, you can work towards managing it and living a happier and healthier life, especially now, when it is needed the most.


What is Social Distancing? And Why is it so Important Right Now?

With the recent events that have transpired over the past few weeks, there are many new terms that we as a society are learning and adapting to. Besides the big ones – COVID-19 and Novel Coronavirus, there are plenty of others. One of major importance that has received a lot of attention, however, is the term social distancing.

For a lot of us, this might be the first time we’ve heard this term and as a result, we may need a little further explanation. So, what is social distancing? And why is it so important right now?

Social distancing is a way for public health officials to try and limit the spread of infection by restricting interaction between people and meetings with large groups. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between people carrying an infection and people who are not infected to again, mitigate the spread of that infection. The more people that actively practice social distancing, the slower an infection will most likely spread.

Under the circumstances our world is facing, social distancing is among one of the most critical measures we can be taking. Right now, health officials are focused on “flattening the curve” through social distancing, which means that they are trying to slow the rate of new cases of Coronavirus so as to not overwhelm the health care professionals and resources that we have available.

Practice social distancing by limiting your interaction with others. If you do need to be around others, it is advised to avoid group settings of 10 or more people and to keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and another individual. If your circumstances allow you to stay at home, that is encouraged as much as possible.

By taking social distancing seriously, we can help our health care industry, our fellow citizens, and our world through this uncertain and difficult time.


National Nutrition Month – Meet Executive Director of Dining Services, Lisa Wolfe, RD, LD

March is National Nutrition Month and at The Wesley Communities, we are fortunate to have our Executive Director of Dining Services, Lisa Wolfe, RD, LD. As an Ohio State University graduate, Lisa studied Medical Dietetics and soon after, became a Registered Dietitian. Lisa first started with our communities in 2005, as a Clinical Dietitian focusing on clinical nutrition and monitoring resident care. From that position, Lisa’s career progressed to Assistant Director of Dining Services positions throughout our communities, which gave her valuable experience in not only nutrition but also in improving our dining services to meet the needs of our residents. Click the link above to learn more about Lisa.


Why Every Retiree Should Consider a Retirement Community

There are certain adages you may recall your parents saying when you were a child: “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” “Things are not always what they seem,” plus, of course, “You won’t know until you try.”

Clichés are repeated again and again because most often, they are true. And it just so happens that these three sayings don’t just apply to the important lessons of childhood — many adults would do well to adhere to these proverbs as they go through life.

In fact, it recently struck me that seniors who are considering their various senior living options may want to keep these very adages in mind as they ponder the possibility of moving to a retirement community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, or life plan community).

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

When you hear the phrase “retirement community,” what comes to mind? Perhaps you envision the nursing home your elderly parents or grandparents were in, with people staring at a TV or eating off of cafeteria-style trays. Or, maybe you think of “a bunch of old people” sitting around all day or playing bingo. (For the record, I think bingo is pretty great!) If this is what you imagine a CCRC or other active living-type retirement community to be like, I would recommend you take time to learn about today’s retirement communities and how, for many, they can even offer a healthier and more holistic lifestyle than the alternatives.

Many people have a negative preconception of senior living that may not match what is currently available in today’s CCRC marketplace. Yes, some of the community’s residents may require a wheelchair or walker, and the on-site availability of a continuum of care services for those who need it is one of the many appealing aspects of a CCRC. But the reality is that a majority of CCRC residents are living active, highly fulfilling lives — a dynamic lifestyle that is encouraged and even supported by the CCRC itself.

Today’s CCRCs offer resident-led activities from lecture series and continuing education classes to volunteer tutoring and various affinity groups…and much more — programs that keep residents mentally and physically active and involved in their larger community.

And that institutional food on a cafeteria tray you were picturing? Retirement communities of today have begun to address this stereotype with gusto. Indeed, improvements to both the dining atmosphere and food quality are hot topics across the industry. In most CCRCs, you will find an array of healthy, freshly prepared menu options, served in on-site settings that range from a dining room, to a bistro café, to a casual pub. In some CCRCs, you may even enjoy gourmet meals prepared by five-star chefs using fresh, locally grown produce.

As you can see, our parents may have advised, don’t judge a book by its cover — and don’t assume the realities of a CCRC will match the outdated idea you have in your mind.

Things are not always what they seem.

Which leads me to my next point: Making an informed decision about ANY topic involves putting all options on the table, gathering the facts about each, weighing pros and cons, and making an educated decision. This methodical process of conducting in-depth research is especially important for your senior living decision.

For example, choosing to remain in your home may seem like a wise choice on the surface. You are comfortable there, both mentally and physically. You may own your home outright, and it seems like the most practical, economical option. Furthermore, you are still independent and active, so you don’t “need” to move to a retirement community.

Yet, many people who have chosen to move to a retirement community report that their net monthly expenses are not much more than they were spending previously; sometimes even less. And they describe how their lives are healthier and more carefree, with the bonus of developing friendships with residents who have common interests and shared life experiences and accomplishments.

And then there are the “what ifs.” What if you are no longer able to manage the upkeep of your home — the housework, the yardwork, the day-to-day maintenance needs? Who will do those chores? Is that a burden you want to put on your adult children, or is that a cost you can afford to incur?

What if you suffer a health issue that prevents you from navigating the stairs to your bedroom, makes it difficult to dress and bathe yourself, or even requires skilled nursing care? Who will assist you with those activities of daily living that you can no longer manage on your own?

Are these caregiving responsibilities you want to put on your adult children or other loved ones, and if not, how much will it cost if you need to pay for either part-time or round-the-clock care in your home? Bear in mind that the national average cost of in-home care is around $3,800 per month, based on just 44 hours of care per week, or around 6 hours per day. Adding in evening hours and overnight care could increase this cost substantially.

On the surface, it may appear that a CCRC will be costlier than just remaining in the home you currently live in, but when you tally up the costs of upkeep and the care services you may one day require, things indeed are not always what they seem.

You won’t know until you try.

Although a retirement community like a CCRC may not ultimately be the right choice for everyone, I think everyone should at least consider it as a senior living option. And while doing diligent research is important to understand contract terms, services, and amenities, the best way to determine if a particular community is right for you is to experience it first-hand.

Once you have narrowed down the possible CCRC options to a select few, spend as much time as you can on their campuses. Take a tour…possibly more than one, and at different times of day. Eat in every one of the dining options, multiple times. Many CCRCs will even allow you to participate in community activities and use some of their facilities if you put down a fairly modest deposit. Use the fitness center. Walk the sidewalks and trails around the community. Talk to current residents to get their impressions of what it’s like to live there.

Many communities offer a guest suite where you can even spend the night on-site to get a true feeling for what it is like to live in the community. Is it clean, up-to-date, and quiet? Do residents seem to be embraced and well-respected by staff. Some providers are clearly better than others, and thus, you can learn a lot about a CCRC by experiencing their guest suite.

There is a New York Times article that addresses the topic of people who were at-best skeptical about moving to a retirement community. In the article, one community resident acknowledged that he had once said to his wife of 45 years, “By God, I’ll sit in the burned-out, firebombed ruins of this home before anybody pulls me out!”

After years of back and forth, he begrudgingly made the move to a retirement community to appease his wife, but since they have settled in, “I’ve done a 180 on this.” A few days after moving in, the man explained, “It just hit me: I really wished my mother or my sister or my aunt could have had this experience, to feel that safe and secure. At that point, it was like a light bulb going on. It was an instant turnaround for me.”

There’s no single senior living choice that’s right for everyone, and ultimately, a retirement community may not be the right choice for you, but when you really weigh things out and hear stories from so many people who are living vibrant and active lives at retirement communities, it’s hard to think that more people shouldn’t at least give it a look with an open mind.

 

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Black History Month and Its Place in Ohio

Every year, the month of February is dedicated to celebrating Black History Month, a time to recognize and honor the contributions and heroic stories of African Americans. Did you know that there have been many significant moments over the decades that have advanced black culture in Ohio? Below we’ve included a timeline of some monumental moments right here in The Buckeye State.

 

  • 1851 – Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth gave her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman” at the Women’s Convention Center in Akron, Ohio.
  • 1863 – The first group of African American recruits from Ohio reported for duty in the Civil War. They were the 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry which would later be renamed the 5th United States Colored Troops.
  • 1914 – The first version of the gas mask, then referred to as the safety hood, was created and patented by Garrett Morgan from Cleveland.
  • 1930 – The Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in Columbus.
  • 1958 – Dr. Martin Luther King gave the graduation commencement speech at Central State University.
  • 1967 – The first African American mayor of a major metropolitan city was elected when Carl B. Strokes ran and won as mayor of Cleveland.
  • 1988 – Toni Morrison, author who is originally from Lorain, Ohio was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her fifth novel, Beloved.
  • 2004 – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center officially opened in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

These special moments not only advanced the African American culture in Ohio, but also advanced the state itself. The rest of this month, we look forward to continuing to thank and celebrate the important individuals who have made a forever mark on our world. From all of us at The Wesley Communities, Happy Black History Month.


I’m Not Ready Yet

Although the vast majority of people who live in Continuing Care Retirement Communities report that they are happy with their decision, there are many who delay a move indefinitely because they feel they are not ready yet.

Of course, moving to a CCRC is an important decision. It requires appropriate planning and should not be rushed. Yet, delaying the decision too long could mean missing the opportunity because a common entry requirement among CCRCs is the ability to live independently. Furthermore, even if your health remains good, delaying means missing out on many of the benefits that such a community could provide for you in the first place. Click the link above to read more about what CCRCs have to offer and why you may be more ready than you think.


Tip #22 of 50 – A Look Back at 2019 and a Look Forward to 2020

As The Wesley Communities celebrate 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #22 of 50 – A look back at 2019 and a look forward to 2020

As we plan for 2020 at The Wesley Communities, I found myself looking back over all that 2019 has brought to us. First and foremost, 2019 was the year where we celebrated our first 50 years of providing excellent housing, care and services for seniors. And we will continue that celebration into this year – 50 plus years of excellent service! We are proud of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Click the link above to read more about our memories from 2019 and our plans for 2020.


The Effects of Not Having a Will

When a person dies without having made a Last Will and Testament, and they have property titled in their name alone, whether it is a boat, house, bank account or a motorcycle, there is a good likelihood that they have made life more difficult and more expensive for their surviving spouse or children. Click the link above to learn more about the effects of not having a Will and why it is important to prepare one ahead of time.


New Year, New You – 2020 Resolutions for Seniors

The New Year has officially kicked off and for many, this is a time to set new goals and to plan for the year ahead. Health is typically one of the main areas people focus on once January rolls around, and while it may be a more obvious goal in the younger generations, it is just as important for our seniors as well.
If you are planning to focus on your health in 2020, set goals that will benefit both your physical and mental health. Typically, there are small changes and adjustments that can be made to your regular routine that will have a lasting, positive impact overall. Click the link above for some New Year’s Resolutions that will help you start 2020 in the right direction.